Browsing 'swimming' News

Competitors in 2015 FINA swimming world cup


Competitors in 2015 FINA swimming world cup

Four world-record holders and 13 Olympic medalists from Brazil will be among the 140 international swimmers competing in this weekend’s FINA Swimming World Cup in Doha.

The fifth edition of the annual event starts tomorrow, Oct. 8 at the Hamad Aquatic Center and runs through Sunday.

It will feature a 16-member Qatari team, who average just 15 years old in age.

In addition to new competitors, Qatar’s team will include Nada Arakji.

Nada Arakji


Nada Arakji

This summer in Rio de Janeiro, the 21-year-old became the first Qatari swimmer to take part in two Olympic tournaments following her 2012 debut in London.

Just months after her participation in Brazil, where she swam the women’s 100m butterfly, Arakji will compete in the FINA event for the third year in a row.

Team Qatar

Joining her will be fellow Olympic team mate Noah Al Khulaifi, who is back in training after competing in the men’s 100m backstroke in Rio.

The 17-year-old will actually be one of three Al Khulaifi brothers who plan to compete this weekend.

The other two are his younger siblings: Yacob, 15, and Yousef, who at 11 years old is the younger member of Qatar’s team.

12th FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) - Day One


Yacob Abdul Aziz Al Khulaifi

Other Qataris set to compete in the FINA event include Mohamed Mohammed (13), Yousef Mohamed (14), Abdulaziz Al Obaidly (15) and Mesalam Al Nabet, who is also 15.

Al Obaidly is another young Qatari talent to watch, as the current national record holder for the 100m and 200m backstroke.

In a Qatar Olympic Committee statement, Al Obaidly said he was looking forward to this year’s event.

“Last year was a great experience for me and I’m always looking to learn more. Competing in front of my friends and family feels amazing, it gives me an extra boost to do all that I can during a race.”

Fina airweave swimming world cup


Fina airweave swimming world cup

Also competing for Qatar will be 17-year-olds Abdulrahman Al Kuwari and Naser Yaser.

Khalil al Jabir, president of the Qatar Swimming Association (QSA), said in a statement:

“We are pleased that so many young Qataris are competing in this year’s World Cup. This shows how Qatari swimming continues to go from strength to strength and it is events like this that help to develop and grow swimming in Qatar.”

World-record holders

The FINA world cup is a series of two-day meets held in nine different locations between August and October each year.

This year, some 36 events will take place, with the races in 25m pools. Total prize money for the world cup is nearly $2.2 million.

The Qatar races follow just days after the event in Dubai.

One of the highlights of the weekend will be the chance to see four Olympic gold medalists competing in Doha.

They are: Rie Kaneto from Japan, who won the 200m breaststroke; Australian Brittany Elmslie who competed in the 4x100m freestyle relay; Katie Melli from the US who was part of the 4x100m medley relay and won bronze in the 100m breaststroke; and Katinka Hosszu, who won three golds and one silver in Rio.

It’s Hosszu who is tipped to again be named overall winner of this year’s event, after taking the title every year since 2012.

Alia Atkinson competing in FINA swimming world cup


Alia Atkinson competing in FINA swimming world cup

She will be challenged by Alia Atkinson (27) from Jamaica, who is in third place in the world cup rankings.

The men’s races will likely be led by South Africans Chad Le Clos, who took two silver medals for the 200m Freestyle and 100m butterfly at Rio; Roland Shoeman and Cameron Van Der Burgh.

Le Clos also has great form in previous FINA tournaments in Qatar. As reigning swimmer of the year, he won gold in the 50m and 100m butterfly events last year.

Russia’s Vladimir Morozov is currently top of the world cup rankings and , as a multiple- Olympic medalist, is another one to watch.

The heats take place in the mornings, from 10am while the finals are held from 6pm daily. A schedule of the races can be found on QSA’s website.

Tickets cost QR20 for each session and can be bought online through Q-Tickets.

Who’s going? Thoughts?

Nada Arakji

Doha Stadium Plus/Flickr

Nada Arakji

Two-time Olympic swimmer Nada Arakji has spent little time resting since returning to Doha from Brazil recently.

In less than a week, the FINA Swimming World Cup kicks off in Doha, and she’s already back in training as one of 16 young athletes representing Qatar at the tournament.

Though Arakji is only 21, she has many years of experience compared to most of her teammates, as the average age for the Qatari swim team is just 15 years old.


Aric DiLalla


This will be the athlete’s third FINA world cup, after swimming the 50m freestyle and 50m butterfly in 2014 and 2015.

It comes on the heels of her second Olympic appearance, after she competed in the Women’s 100m butterfly event in Rio de Janeiro.

As she gets ready for the latest competition at the Hamad Aquatic Center, which runs Oct. 8 and 9, Arakji spoke to Doha News about competing in the Olympics.

She also shared what it feels like to be one of the people smashing stereotypes for young women in the country.


This year, Arakji was one of only two female athlete to qualify for Qatar’s national Olympic team.

She said this alone made her proud of her participation in the summer Olympics.

“Being (one of the) only women on the Qatari team is an honor. It felt very empowering that I am breaking stereotypes and can be an example to many young females out there.”

However, the athlete did attract some criticism locally for donning a bathing suit in front of the world. Arakji declined to comment on this.

Separately, she did tell Doha News:


“That moment when I held my country Qatar’s flag up high and walked in the parade with so much pride was something I will never forget.”

Nada Arakji at Rio Olympics


Nada Arakji at Rio Olympics

Arakji made her Olympic debut in London in 2012 and made headlines in the process.

She joined field sprinter Noor Al Malki, shooter Bahiya Al Hamad and table tennis player Aya Majdi as the first Qatari women to have competed in the games since the country began participating in 1984.

“Thinking back on both my experiences, it’s crazy to see how much I developed as a person. In London, I was a beginner – I was in high school and it was my first experience,” she told Doha News.

“In Rio, I felt more confident, having gained experience and knowing what to expect,” she added.

Recently graduated with a business degree from Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, Arakji has started working with the Qatar Olympic Committee. But she already has an eye on the future, with plans to start her own business eventually.

Aside from getting prepared for the upcoming FINA cup, the athlete is also doing more land-based training and wants to compete in 5k and 10k running races, “just to get my stamina going.”


But her future plans are all derived from her role as an Olympian.

“It’s one of those experiences in your life that are so unbelievable that it’s hard to grasp,” she said, referring to competing in the games.

She continued:

“My journey to the Olympics wasn’t the easiest – I did have to make sacrifices, but it was worth it because this allows me to make a difference, to inspire changes to empower more women and to be a sports ambassador for all the women out there to follow their dreams despite the obstacles.”

Nada Arajki at Rio Olympics


Nada Arajki at Rio Olympics

While her training schedule has been rigorous throughout her swimming career, it went up several gears in the run-up to Rio, requiring a whole-hearted commitment.

“I couldn’t pick and choose when I wanted to swim,” Arakji recalled. “I was swimming almost every day of the week, which didn’t leave me much time to have a social life with my family or friends.”

During the Olympics, the atmosphere and pressure put on athletes can be immense, but Arakji said the support she received from her family, other athletes and the committee helped her get through it.

And she has come a long way since her first-ever race, when she remembers being sick before getting in the water.

Nada Arakji


Nada Arakji

“There are so many thoughts going through my head before the start of a race, so many mixed emotions. I’m anxious, a little nervous, excited and pumped all at the same time, which is overwhelming,” she said.

“Of course, it’s not easy to stay calm in such an experience, but I always say to myself that everything will be okay and that it’ll be great no matter what so just enjoy it!”


Qatar bid team celebrates as Doha named host city for 2023


Qatar bid team celebrates as Doha named host city for 2023

Doha has been named as the host city for the 2023 FINA World Championships and FINA World Masters Championships, marking the first time the swimming and aquatic event will take place in the Middle East.

After final presentations in Budapest, Hungary yesterday, the FINA bureau chose Qatar’s capital over the Chinese city of Nanjing.

While Doha has hosted several FINA events in recent years, including the 2014 FINA World Swimming Championships, this will be the first time it will have the International Swimming Federation’s flagship event.

In a statement, Secretary General of the Qatar Olympic Committee, Dr. Thani Abdulrahman Al-Kuwari, said:

“Hosting the FINA Championships has been a longstanding dream of Qatar’s and we are committed to hosting a spectacular edition of the event, which will showcase the very best of aquatic sports and capture the attention of new athletes and new audiences, helping aquatics to grow and develop in a new region. We are very much looking forward to working in partnership with FINA over the years ahead.”

Qatar, which is hosting the World Cup in 2022, has been trying to bring several sporting championships to the Middle East. 

Last year, it hosted the Men’s Handball World Championship and in 2019, will host the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) championships.

Event venues

The 2023 championships will be held on a compact site that is 15km in radius, its organizing committee said

Swimming, synchronized swimming and water-polo will place in the Aspire Dome, which will be transformed from an indoor multi-sport arena into what is billed to be the world’s biggest indoor aquatics venue.

The diving will take place at the Hamad Aquatic Center, home to the 2014 World Championships and FINA World Cup series, while MIA Park, with Doha’s city skyline as a backdrop, will be the venue for the open-water swimming and high diving.

Speaking during Doha’s bid presentation, 14-year-old Qatari swimming star Yacoub Al-Khulaifi said:

“It is my ambition to be crowned as Qatar’s first ever World Champion – and to do this in Qatar would be a dream come true. I want to be a role model for my country. I want to inspire more youngsters in Qatar and in my region to see that anything is possible.”

Congrats, Qatar! Thoughts?